39 Essex Chambers

Construction Department

London (Bar)
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Maintains a comprehensive construction law practice, which encompasses the full range of disputes arising out of the construction sector. The set houses a number of expert barristers, particularly at the silk level, who are "all very commercial and very easy to work with," according to one source. Members of the set are eminently capable of handling disputes involving iconic residential and commercial property developments, as well as major infrastructure and energy projects in the UK and abroad. The set's expertise in PFI and PPP disputes is of note. Members receive instructions from leading contractors as well as property developers and government bodies. Recently, a number of members have been instructed in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry as well as various claims involving defective cladding brought in the fire's wake.

Client service: "The clerking service is very good. They are very good at managing deadlines and keeping you informed." "The clerks provide swift responses and are very happy to discuss the client's needs and how the service can be adapted." The team is led by chief executive and director of clerking Lindsay Scott.

Adam Robb QC
Well-regarded practitioner who is regularly sought after by household-name law firms to assist with high-value disputes. He works in construction matters arising from a range of industry sectors including transport, energy and healthcare. He is especially proficient in litigation involving aspects of professional negligence.
Strengths: "Adam is really authoritative in court." "Exceptionally intelligent, very hard-working and very patient with clients, he also produces fantastic work product." "Incredibly diligent, detail-oriented and a safe pair of hands."

Adrian Hughes QC
Skilled silk with a robust domestic practice and a particular interest in infrastructure and PFI work, including disputes relating to construction projects in the healthcare sector. His international arbitration offering is notable, and he undertakes significant work in the Middle and Far East. He is also recognised for his experience of acting as an arbitrator in construction and engineering disputes.
Strengths: "He is good on his feet, well prepared and drafts good pleadings."
Recent work: Represented Ealing Care Alliance, a care home services provider, in a long-running dispute with the London Borough of Ealing concerning the benchmarking of costs under a long-term PFI contract.

Alexandra Bodnar
Impressive junior who is increasingly being instructed as sole counsel in highly complex construction disputes. She offers expertise across litigation, arbitration and adjudication proceedings and regularly appears in the TCC. She offers particular expertise in insurance issues pertaining to construction projects.
Strengths: "She provides a detailed and forensic analysis of legal issues, has a commercial approach and is very much a team player." "She is hard-working and a pleasure to work with, and delivers practical and user-friendly advice."
Recent work: Appeared on behalf of the claimant in Ziggurat (Claremont Place) v HCC International Insurance, a TCC trial concerning a construction performance guarantee bond.

Anthony Edwards
Highly experienced construction specialist practising across a number of sectors including utilities, transport and healthcare. He often appears before the TCC and routinely handles ICC arbitrations. He has dealt with all manner of allegations, including defective work and negligent design.
Strengths: "A thorough knowledge of the areas of law he is asked to assist with. He is very responsive, approachable and patient with clients. He is a good team player."

Jess Connors
Maintains a wide-ranging practice, which covers domestic disputes alongside international arbitration. She has acted for prominent employers and contractors in disputes across the world. Her practice relates to a variety of areas including energy, infrastructure and residential developments. Recently, she has been active in litigation involving allegedly defective cladding.
Strengths: "Her in-depth knowledge of the subject matter is phenomenal." "Very good at detail and financially complex claims."

Karim Ghaly QC
Attracts praise from industry observers for his consummate advocacy. He is regularly instructed to represent clients in TCC and appellate proceedings and in complex international arbitrations. He frequently handles cases involving energy and professional negligence issues, and is noted for his deep understanding of the mechanisms of PFI and PPP disputes. His international client base includes contractors, subcontractors and employers.
Strengths: "He has a clear and precise drafting style, is effective at explaining complicated and technical legal issues to clients and is particularly adept at identifying the key issues and seeking innovative solutions to problems." "He is easy to work with, exceptionally bright and a firm favourite with clients."

Kate Grange QC
Has a diverse construction practice that often incorporates issues of public law. She is frequently instructed in sophisticated pieces of litigation and arbitration arising out of the insurance and professional negligence elements of construction, by a client base which includes central government.
Strengths: "She shows an excellent and in-depth understanding of the technical issues."
Recent work: Instructed as lead counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, advising on a wide range of construction and public law issues.

Marion Smith QC
Quality silk who is recognised for her prowess in adjudications, TCC proceedings and international arbitration. She is sought after to advise on a variety of matters, including PFI, energy and engineering disputes. She is noted for her ability to establish excellent working relationships with clients.
Strengths: "An absolute pleasure to work with and very on the ball, she knows her stuff and is very good with clients." "Provides first-rate advice which considers the client's objectives throughout." "She gets to grips with the paper quickly, is really client-focused and actually very commercial too."

Patrick Hennessey
Impressive junior who is sought out in a wide range of construction matters. His recent work includes disputes involving transport infrastructure, energy projects and property development. He provides expert representation to public and private sector employers as well as contractors, and is adept at handling international arbitration in addition to litigation proceedings.
Strengths: "An outstanding junior for his call." "Very approachable, very easy to engage with and resourceful." "Brings a real star quality and old-school charm to the table."

Paul Darling QC
Heavyweight silk with a strong global practice that often involves tribunal work in the Far and Middle East. His domestic work sees him regularly appearing before the TCC in an array of high-value cases.
Strengths: "He is intellectually fantastic in distilling complex matters to a simple strategy, innovative in his thinking and not afraid to take on a challenge." "Brilliant with clients, formidable on the law and excellent on his feet." "A great tactician with a very collaborative approach."
Recent work: Instructed by Interserve in a dispute with Swansea City FC concerning limitation in collateral warranties.

Rachael O'Hagan
Gifted junior regularly instructed in high-value litigation and arbitration for a diverse client base including major contractors and government bodies. Her body of work includes significant matters in energy, infrastructure and residential development. She is increasingly acting as sole counsel in large disputes. She offers specialist expertise in nuclear projects.
Strengths: "She’s incredibly hard-working, very accessible and very user-friendly, with broad expertise." "Very intellectual, she gets to the heart of a dispute quickly and is very engaging."
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of NPS in respect of claims brought by the London Borough of Haringey concerning construction work carried out at a school. The case involved allegations of professional negligence and construction defects.

Richard Wilmot-Smith QC
Highly regarded senior silk who is particularly well known for his adroit handling of matters involving guarantees, performance bonds and related professional negligence claims. He has developed a sterling practice, both in the UK and abroad, which is supplemented by his regular work as an arbitrator.
Strengths: "Tough, unequivocal in his advice and excellent with clients." "An absolute star."

Stuart Catchpole QC
Masterful construction silk extolled for his courtroom presence and intellectual prowess. He has a renowned domestic practice and is widely respected for his international arbitration work. He handles professional negligence and contractual disputes on behalf of prominent clients in the construction industry.
Strengths: "He is a fearsome cross-examiner and a huge intellect. His ability to work as part of the large teams of lawyers also stands him out as one of the very best." "He is very bright and analytical, a great strategist and a formidable presence in court. He combines a superb understanding of the law with a very commercial approach."
Recent work: Represented Rydon Maintenance, the main contractor who installed the cladding at Grenfell Tower, at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.